Paul, Prepositions, and the Ministry of Reconciliation

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.  (2 Corinthians 5:17-20 ESV)

First, take note of the somewhat confusing use of prepositions, especially those in bold.  Second, determine to whom the prepositions refer.  From the final sentence, we must infer that “we” and “you” are separate entities; that’s language for toddlers and absolutely incontestable.  Likewise, the “us” and the “we” are synonymous, referring to the same party.  “Who,” it must be posed, “is the ‘we’/’us’ group?”  Well, what do we know pertaining to this question?

  • Paul, the author, is in the group.
  • This group was commissioned by God. (2:17)
  • Timothy is included via the greeting.
  • Paul writes as having authority.
  • Paul & Timothy are both apostles. (1 Th 2:6)

There’s more that could be said, but I don’t really think even those five points were absolutely necessary.  It is plain that Paul uses “we”/”us” to denote either all or a subgroup of apostles.   Continue reading

The Sacrament of Penance in the Catholic Church

Here’s an analogy I use to help explain the concept of Penance in the Catholic Church.

Billy is a 14 year old who likes to ride his bike a lot. So much, in fact, that he even rides in the rain. However, Billy is often absent-minded when he’s riding and forgets the rules set forth by his mother. One of those rules is that Billy must only ride on the side walk and street.

One day, Billy was riding his Bike after a good rain, and he rode his bike off the side walk, onto the grass, and wiped out in his neighbor’s flower bed. Billy was unscathed, but half the flower bed was destroyed, and his tires had made numerous, deep treads in the wet lawn. Billy knew immediately that he had failed to obey, and he could see why his mother had set forth her rules. Continue reading